Final project for English 591, December 2015, with Professor Kristin Arola
Edited by Edie-Marie Roper
The pitch that I started with that came from an earlier multimodal exercise ended up morphing quite a bit as I actually got into the work on collecting my data.
A Running Composition: on process and ongoing endeavors
Not Quite Up and Running, or, ‘Coming Soon!’
Running Smarts. The podcast that I’ve been wanting to start, have, and maintain for four or so years now is finally coming to be. I love podcasts so much I wanted to make one. But among other barriers, all my ideas sucked. Until now.
“Audioethnography and The Word,” will be one of the chapters to my dissertation. I may or may not be able to include a multimodal element as part of my dissertation but even if I can’t (because of rules, committee [dis]approval, or lack of cohesion with the rest of the work) it will still serve a concept chapter and as an element of my patching runner blogging and now blossoming runner podcast.
Process is something difficult to grade or assess as a teacher and yet, that is where all the fun happens. But it is messy as hell. That is why, as Rhodes and Alexander suggest, we most compose multimodally ourselves in order to teach with it. We cannot teach solely on product and we cannot recognize productive struggle if we haven’t done it ourselves.
My contributors dragged their feet at first (mostly metaphorically, actually) or, converging schedules was a problem (I could only get one or two interviews per Beer-chasing Wednesday). But then a flood of GPS imagery came in, which I asked for after only a few, trickling in volunteers to do running interviews. Data is fun but doesn’t always transfer easily, or at all. And then more people could and wanted to do interviews after all, which was sort of a relief – I could focus on the community and multiple perspectives rather than relying on my own stories and perspectives to entertain and cover it all. Editing takes longer than it seems like it’s going to. I mean, even when I was on a roll, lost in the work, I’d come up for air and four hours had gone by for editing down 5-15 minute episodes out of 30-40 minute interviews. That is why my own audioethnography parts are half-mangled mess files on my computer as are the Running Smarts episodes. And don’t even get me started on the interview I lost. Hurts. So. Much.
None of this would even be happening if it weren’t for the readings teasing out, defining, and redefining what multimodality even is (cite). And Jodi Shipka’s book, Toward a Composition Made Whole, made teaching multimodality accessible and grading, or checking in at least, on process possible. I had pretty much given up on teaching with multimodality but now I not only want to try again, but I can see mutlimodality and inevitably already present in our alphabetic-text focused education. I can see it making tangible for my students what I mean when I talk about language and power, and how we ought not take it for granted. I once had an opportunity to study abroad and one of my mentors talked about how I would remember it, it would affect me and change me all my life, even if only in subtle ways. And one of my other mentors/professors put us out in the city to learn global leadership, because it wasn’t something that we could learn in depth in the classroom. I think multimodality can do that for critical thinking and language and power – through struggle and intense interaction, layered experiences, there is a nuanced depth of learning that can and should happen.